Bishop Blase J. Cupich of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington wants his parishioners to vote “Reject” on Referendum 74, a ballot question to uphold the state’s marriage equality law. Under the guise of “respect,” Cupich offers a series of “reflections,” with six intellectually shallow arguments against same-sex marriage:
- Separate is equal. Cupich argues that since same-sex couples already have the rights of marriage through domestic partnership, the law is unnecessary: “It is about making same sex unions identical to traditional marriages. It is arguable that traditional marriage loses its unique identity in the process.”
- Same-sex couples cannot procreate. Cupich argues that “men and women are not interchangeable” and thus there will be “significant consequences” for “children, families, society, and the common good.”
- Straight people won’t be specially recognized: “The state would no longer grant special support and recognition of the irreplaceable contribution and sacrifice that wives and husbands make to society today as mothers and fathers.”
- Forms won’t be gender-specific. Cupich is concerned that governmental forms will lose “husband and wife” and “mother and father” and be replaced with “spouse” and “parent,” because the new terms “fail to convey what fathers and mothers each bring as male and female to the critical task of generating.”
- Polygamy and incest are next: “If marriage is only about relationships, why limit unions to two people? Why does the new law include the traditional prohibition of close kinship unions for both opposite and same sex couples?”
- Opposite-sex marriage is “our human nature”: “I would argue that this is not about granting equality to same sex couples, but of changing the identity of marriage.”
While Cupich’s arguments are trite, they are noteworthy for their candor. It’s quite clear from most of his arguments that he is guided by a sense of hetero-supremacy and gender-norm rigidity. None of his points have merit, but they are rooted in the sense that straight people deserve special recognition in society and that conformity to gender stereotypes is superior to any unique personality traits anybody might have.
Cupich wants the debate to be carried on “with respect, honesty, and conviction.” It doesn’t get much more honest than saying same-sex couples shouldn’t be equal because he just doesn’t want same-sex couples to be equal.